Freshwater plants and lighting requirements for 20 gallon long

StaceyMae

HI there,

I have already stocked my aquarium with the following plants (with shady spots for my low light plants):

Cryptocoryne lucens
Lobelia cardinalis
Staurogyne repens
Dwarf saggitaria subulata
Anubias nana
Windelov
Marimo moss ball
Java fern

I have an old 29 gallon lid I got from my relative that fit perfectly on the 20 long. However, the bulb that was in place was a 20w t12, which is old and not sufficient for aquarium plants. I've been trying to figure out what to do about this since I'd like to keep the hood.

Would a t8 work, like the Zoo Med T-8 Ultra Sun Super Daylight Fluorescent Bulb? I have read that t8's often fit t12 lamps. Or should I just break down and buy the $70 Finnex planted hlc on amazon? I've heard of people changing the ballast to t5 on certain lamps but I've never really done anything like that so I wouldn't know where to start. Any advice is much appreciated!

Right now all of the plants are under an LED light that sufficiently grows all of my plants nicely, except for the lobelia which needs a bit more than the LED can provide (it's a little on the stringy-looking side). I know now that it is only 12w and 8000k (it's the coodia color changing full spectrum light on amazon), so I'm looking for something that is tailored more to plants rather than merely aquarium use. People seem to swear by t5s but I didnt want the algae that came with such high lighting, so the t8 sounded perfect. But I am new to keeping freshwater plants and lighting for them is new to me as well. Thanks for any advice!
 

Coradee

Giving this a bump up for you hope our members can help answer your question today
 

CoryBoi

A T12 fixture will run the bulb dead very fast, as there is so much power going to the bulb. you could either get the finnex, or have the t8 bulb with a t8 fixture or there is a brand on amazon called nicrew that sells some pretty good planted aquarium lights.
 

Islandvic

Consider looking into a glass Versa-Top hinged lid and a LED light bar that sits on it. The Versa-Top lids are made by Aqueon.

Also, take a look at the Beamswork DA F-Spec light on Amazon. The 24" or 30" model will probably work very well for your application.

Beamswork is a good quality budget LED light. I've owned their 48" lower output "EA" series and their optional plug in timer or 2 years with zero issues.
 

BlackOsprey

Finnex is a good general low-tech planted tank light, though I've found it has trouble growing anything that's more on the medium-high on light needs.

If you're not particularly worried about the way it looks, clamp lights with 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs are excellent for growing plants too. I've gotten the most vigorous growth from those. They're also much cheaper than most aquarium lights too. You'd need 2 lights for the 20 long.
 

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